New batch of judges pledged

Some 500 more judges will be hired to make up for shortages within the judiciary, Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras said on Saturday just days after justices refused to work harder to clear up a backlog of cases in civil courts. Speaking at a meeting of administrative judges, Papaligouras said that thousands of people had been held «hostage» to a slow judicial system and that the government’s «main priority» has been to reduce the number of delayed trials. His request for judges to pick up the pace seemed to backfire last week when first instance court justices declined, claiming that some 40,000 civil cases are outstanding due to a lack of staff. Papaligouras said that 465 judges of all levels would soon be hired. He also praised the judiciary for its cooperation in purging the system of corrupt officials after a number of trial-fixing scandals over the last few years. «The tarnished prestige of judicial officials is being restored,» said Papaligouras. «People can once again respect the law.»